For one Reddit user, a sister's intense fear of the virus was the last straw in a long series of grandiose concerns about health and illness.
galonsofrubbing, as the Redditor goes by on the site, was not at all surprised when their sister made claims to have pre-existing health conditions that would make her especially susceptible to the illness caused by the virus which has killed more 100,000 people in the U.S.
For this Redditor, hearing about those deep health concerns has been a regular occurrence in a life spent engaging with their sister's hypochondriac behavior. In the face of all the other complaints in the past, galonsofrubbing bit their tongue.
But apparently, enough was enough when the virus fears began to come out. They blew up and read their sister the riot act.
But when their parents took their sister's side after the confrontation, galonsofrubbing was at their wits' end. They turned to the only place left for what they hoped would be some level-headed discussion about who's right and who's wrong: the "Am I the A**hole" (AITA) subReddit.
The posted anecdote began with a painted picture of a typical hypochondriac.
"My sister, let's call her Billie, is a bit of a hypochondriac. Whenever she sneezes or her eyes water a little bit, she claims to have 'severe hay fever.' I have severe hay fever that I take medication for, and she does not show the symptoms and does nothing to treat it."
"Another example is that she'll experience something as inane as a headache, she'll Google what the cause could be and usually asks me if I think she might have a tumour. I usually tell her to just drink some water. Pretty standard stuff. This is basically as far as it went during our childhood."
But some of this sister's behavior left galonsofrubbing suspicious of her motives.
"The thing is, this doesn't seem to be anxiety based because the moment it's just us two all of her health complaints disappear."
"She posts about them on her [Snapchat] story and makes a big fuss about wanting gluten free options in restaurants in front of our friends and then eats sandwiches at home, her hay fever disappears the moment she's outside in a grassy area with only me, etc."
And a confrontation really began to loom when the behavior ramped up.
"Recently, her I guess you could call it attention seeking has taken on a new development."
"A while ago she started claiming to suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome. She actually went to the doctors about it, and then another doctor, and another doctor after that, but none of them gave her a diagnosis because she's perfectly healthy."
"She also claimed to suffer from lupus, multiple sclerosis and schizophrenia."
"She would post about these conditions on Instagram and Snapchat and consistently complained about symptoms without actually showing any of them, and again, every doctor she went to wouldn't diagnose her with any of the above conditions."
As mentioned, things came to a head with the sister's response to the recent pandemic.
"This story comes in because of the whole epidemic. She called me practically the middle of the night back in March and started ranting about how she's so worried she'll get it because she has 'so many underlying conditions and severe disabilities' and that they put her 'at severe risk' and how she could die."
"At this point I had just about enough of her bullsh*t. I know plenty of people who are actually at risk and this just seemed disrespectful."
"So I told her point blank, 'You don't have a real disability, Billie. Stop your f***ing attention whoring, you are so self centred that you even have to make an entire epidemic all about you. If you're ever unfortunate enough to suffer from anything you keep lying about you'll see that it's not some fun personality quirk. Go to hell.' "
The fallout left galonsofrubbing on the outs with both the sister and some other family members who took her side.
"She hasn't spoken to me since that interaction and I honestly don't think I did anything wrong."
"However, our parents are siding with her and very pissed off at me for it, because they completely believe that she is in fact disabled. Everyone around her thinks she's disabled."
"I feel like I'm going crazy because it seems so obvious to me that she's not, she has NO diagnosis and her "symptoms" disappear the moment it's convenient."
Reddit responses to the post were quite mixed.
A majority, though, did side with galonsofrubbing, dubbing them "NTA," or "Not the A**hole."
"NTA. Considering your parents' behaviour, no wonder she acts like this." -- borgcubecubed
"NTA. She reeks of attention seeking, and it shows. You did the right thing to call her out on her bullsh*t." -- excalibro_umbra
"NTA. That is annoying af. It does sound like she has a mental disorder of some sort and should probably be speaking with a psychiatrist instead of medical doctors."
"Your parents probably know that 'something' is wrong with her but don't know how to pinpoint it? Either way, she should be called out. But maybe try pointing her in a mental health direction." -- crapatthethriftstore
Some Redditors even spoke from experience.
"NTA. I have invisible illnesses (including CFS lol) and it's hard enough to get taken seriously, much less when healthy people out there claim to have it or understand it."
"It means that more and more there's a misunderstanding and lack of awareness of what it actually means to live with these conditions and it makes life harder for those of us that do have them." -- MrsLoki120din
"NTA. As someone who actually has a very severe medical condition, f*** her." -- i-am-dying
Others gave the sister the benefit of the doubt and called the confrontation approach into question.
"Hypochrondria is a real disease. It's a mental disease, but it's real...Illness Anxiety Disorder.
"It's possible that your sister is really sick. She's just got a mental illness of some kind. IAD. Munchhausen's. Histrionic personality disorder. In which case she is going to the wrong kind of doctor." -- Dana07620
"NTA. But this sounds like Munchausen's syndrome to me. Look it up. Your sister would probably benefit from seeing a therapist or psychologist." -- Dontrocktheboat1986
"I'm going to say that [you're the a**hole] for saying that she's an attention whore but also calling her a hypochondriac, a condition that should be treated with both meds and therapy. If she really is one, imagine living with constant anxiety."
"She needs help to manage it." -- Nhemara
And some criticism was more pointed.
"I'm gonna say [everyone sucks here] because while she is lying did you ever maybe wonder WHY? She very well could have an undiagnosed mental illness that causes her to act this way. You weren't wrong to call her out, but you did it in a really sh*tty way." -- Piemanthe3rd
"She needs to see a therapist and I know it's very irritating to hear people say they have issues that they don't. But you need to support her and help her GET HELP. If you think she has a mental illness...... why...... don't you do anything about it?" -- skellington
"[You're the a**hole]. Take the time to look into hypochondria and then SPEAK to your sister to find out where this is coming from." -- redditguyonatrain
And so, galonsofrubbing did find strong support online. But the harsh criticism offered alongside it by other Redditors may warrant a different approach during the next confrontation.
*If you enjoyed this article, you can read more like it by clicking on the AITA link below.*